You may have worked out from my previous two posts (and if you haven’t seen them then check here for my Top 5 Linux apps post and here for my YouTube on the cheap post), I love free software. I mean, who doesn’t like free software – or free products of most types for that matter.
I’ve been using free software for years
Free software s nothing new. I’ve been using it for many years, starting way back when I had an Atari 520ST and Amiga A500. They had, what was known as Public Domain software. So, there were these big (in many cases) companies (well, companies because I can’t think of another word to describe them) that has a library of Public Domain software.
Basically, you would pay for a disk and the postage and then the software was free on that disk. There were listings of disk-names that had specific software titles on them that you could pay to be sent. I used to love Public Domain software. I remember in the early 90’s going to the Princes Trust with the idea of opening one myself. It’s probably a good job I didn’t because the Internet soon meant that you could grab all this software far easier and for totally free.
In the hay day, though, of the Amiga and Atari; and early in the PC world (I remember getting Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and a number of other great games from Public Domain libraries), this software was just easy to get and offered a cheap (free) way to grab some fantastic utilities. You can search Google for ‘Public Domain’ and still find some of those original collections of DOS programs.
Today its Open Source
So, move on around 20 years or so to today. Now I used to love Doom and a few other of those free programs – but today there is so much more. Today it’s all about the Open Source. To try and describe it in a short sentence for those that have not heard of it; Open Source is free software that is created by users for users.
Basically, you have 1 or more people that create the software and give it away for free. Other developers can also take the code and change it themselves, then give this back to the world for free. The thing is, there are thousands of open source projects out there with applications to do more or less anything you want to do.
Now, some of these may not be as feature rich as a commercial product, some may have more features. The things is, it’s free as opposed to paying for a commercial product. I use Open Source software all the time. Most of the applications I use are Open Source, from Word Processors and Spreadsheets to developer tools and video editing. All my images are edited with GIMP for example which is Open Source.
To check out what projects are out there, go to my favorite place SourceForge and do a search. Just type a type of application you want to find in the search bar and it will list whats in there for you. You can then check out the software, see reviews and download and use for free.
So, commercial or free software?
Who doesn’t love free software after all? I know I do. Why not leave me a comment below on what you have found useful from the free Open Source software library. I would love to know and share.